This morning I was greeted with a Facebook birthday notification for a woman I have known since my days at the BYU Reading/Writing Lab and the English MA program there. Sadly, she passed away almost 2 years ago, leaving a husband and two boys. She died a faithful member of the church.
It struck me that she was always what some around here call a "progressive Mormon" or "progMormon." She definitely was much more politically liberal than I have ever been. She was a feminist who struggled with the role of women in the church, and she once caused a minor uproar in a literary theory class by saying that the only way women could exercise any authority in the church was to "strap on a plastic penis." Reading some of her old Facebook posts, I note that she supported Ordain Women, was pro-choice, and supported equal rights for gays and lesbians. But she loved the church and was a temple worker who repeatedly expressed her joy at doing temple ordinances. Her boys were/are active in Scouting and priesthood activities, and she looked forward to their serving missions someday.
I thought of how some people consider such "progressive Mormons" as pretty much the same as apostates. I find that hard to reconcile with the faith she showed so much and so constantly. I'm not asking for personal judgments of her or me or anyone else, but I'm trying to make sense of why otherwise faithful members are often condemned and ridiculed because they seek change in the church. Either way, she was a wonderful woman, and I miss her.